Quote for Today
“It is not enough just to wish well;
we must also do well”
“It is not enough just to wish well;
we must also do well”
“I like the Bible folded between lids of cloth, or calfskin, or morocco, but I like it better when, in the shape of a man, it goes out into the world-a Bible illustrated.”
– Thomas De Witt Talmage
“Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God”
– 2 Corinthians 3:3
“Because they have no changes,
therefore they fear not God”
Transformation and change are the natural order of those who are active and current in their relationship with Jesus. Those who merely subscribe to the tenets of the “Christian” faith remain unaffected by the wonder of His life and Being. Change comes from seeing Him who is invisible, tasting of His Goodness, Mercy and Holiness. One cannot touch His presence and not grow in the reverence of who He is. Without change there is no understanding of the fear of the Lord.
Knowledge may increase, familiarity with the things of God may have the appearance of being good and deep, but it is in the crucible of growth that our relationship is revealed. He came moreover He is come to work within our hearts fundamental and revolutionary transformations from what we are into the image of Christ. This transition from fallen Adam to the Risen Christ is the vehicle and means by which we are moved from an isolated and selfish entity into the substance of being “members one of another”. The validity of our walk with God is revealed in those who are being united by faith into One Body, One Life and One Heart! Jesus prayed for this, He gave Himself up to cruel and wicked men to pay the price of redemption to this end. Not only did He give Himself as an offering but He is even now giving of Himself to us to make it so. Those who do not feel the pull and the cry for this union of hearts within the wonder of His life have become distant and unable to hear the Spirit of Truth.
“Again I write a new commandment to you which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true Light already shines. The one saying to be in the light, and hating his brother, is in the darkness until now. The one loving his brother rests in the light, and no offense is in him. But the one hating his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness blinded his eyes” 1 John 2:8-11
Indifference is hatred held in apathy. They who are indifferent to the members of the Body of Christ around them are walking in the darkness. Darkness is the absence of light. Light is simply the life of Jesus beating within our hearts.
“In him was life;
and the life was the light of men”
“Neither do I condemn thee:
go, and sin no more”
Forgiveness is the means to God’s end not the end in itself. Forgiveness is not for the purpose of continuing in sin; it is the respite required to free us from sin.
The goldsmith does not abandon the gold in the fire because of the dross. He has patience in the process to realize his desired vessel. Justification is not the conclusion of God’s work; it is the vehicle by which we fulfill His purpose.
“…and whom he justified, them he also glorified”
The true glory is freedom from sin.
“Whereunto he called you by our gospel,
to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ”
2 Thessalonians 2:14
All life begins with God. Without Him nothing exists materially or spiritually. He is the beginning and in Him life is filled with endless beginnings. He is ever making all things new. The glory of creation is always giving way to new wonders and countless beauties. Every sunset has its own glow and signature. Every plant, every creature has a uniqueness which, though it belongs to a certain species, has something distinct about it. No two things are the same. The creator can never be exhausted in His creativity. From birth there is always the first step, the first word, the first moment of conscious thought. At each step of the journey into the expanse of His world we become more aware that we are eternal creatures moving toward a call; the apprehension of a mystery that can only be known in Christ. He is the Word by which we were begotten in the fullness of His time and will. In the mystery of this relationship His thoughts, words, ideas and omniscient care may seem intangible yet somehow there is an inner knowing that He is near.
Relationship is by its nature a mystery. While religious men consider God in abstract terms and religious concepts, something unfathomable transpires in those who touch the hem of His Holiness, Love and Power. It is at times unsettling, more than any mere human is able to comprehend, yet there is a fragrance within the wonder of it all that draws His own near. Isaiah in Chapter 6, caught up to the very presence of God, was immediately struck with God’s glory and the contrast of His own dreadful condition. Yet in the face of such contradiction and terror, He hears God speaking within the Holy Trinity: “Whom will WE send, who will go for US?” There must have been an unspoken love shrouded within that dreaded Holy Place that enabled Isaiah to whisper, “Here am I, send me…” It is in these intimate moments where we catch glimpses of the new beginnings in God. Though Isaiah had already prophesied mightily for five chapters, infallible words from God, we can rest assured he was not the same man after the seeing of Him. So it is with us; when we truly see Him we can never be the same and that ever increasing light leads to deeper places and growth in the knowledge of Him.
“But the path of the just is as the shining light,
that shineth more and more unto the perfect day”
The light of Him is the life of Him. While many consider light to be the ability to understand certain doctrines and teachings, or to hold scriptures in the intellect, true light is the revelation of His light to us with the intent that it shine through us.
“In him was life;
and the life was the light of men”
The only light we have is the life of Him ruling and reigning within us. It is in the holding of Him we have life. When one wanders from Him the life and the light fades into darkness and futility. The life never leaves the Son for He Himself is the light. People speak of getting saved as an event that occurred at one point in time failing to realize that eternal life is not something a person gets by complying with a statement of faith, it is the very life of Jesus living and abiding within us. He who has the Son has Life; He who has not the Son has not life; a very simple statement yet one that is far reaching in its eternal implications. Eternal Life is not something we hope to get when we die rather it is ours by having Him present tense in our life by relationship. It is here the true believer experiences the continual life of new beginnings. His word, His ways, our seeing of Him is ever increasing, calling us to higher and deeper places of knowing Him. This is not a static religious concept; it is the way of His life within us. To many the way becomes dreary and filled with uneventful meetings, prayers and discussions but to those who hold His life dear within their hearts, life here is but the womb of greater things. We see new songs being sung in the heavens; new creations do new things.
“And they sing as a new song before the throne”
Not just anyone can sing this new song. It is a song reserved for those who follow the lamb wherever He goes. It is for those who are free from the systems of men and walk in a way that pleases Him. The true things of God are not to be had by claiming promises; they are ours as we come to abide in Him.
“For all the promises of God in him are yea,
and in him Amen”
2 Corinthians 1:20
All of God’s promises are in the Son and as I grow in relationship with Him they become mine. Just as the life and the fruitfulness of the branch can only be known by abiding in the true vine there are attributes of God which can only be mine by being in Him. It is here that the revolutionary walk of identification and love is known. There is a fountain which ever flows in the Spirit. The psalmist says there is a river which makes glad the city of God. It is a river which has no beginning for it flows from the very throne of God Himself. It flows with the intent that men might walk into it, drink of it and wash themselves clean. Those who separate themselves from others find themselves outside of the flow and the wonder of His life. Jesus walked with the common people, He ate their simple food and He understood the plight of every man. Just as in the parables, the normal things of life become vehicles to convey God’s heart and truth. This is where we will find Him still teaching, still instructing us in heavenly things if we have eyes to see and ears to hear and comply with His whispers. Relationship implies the sharing of personal and intimate things, and we need to be close enough and still enough to have that privilege.
It is here we find those new beginnings with each step we take into the mystery of knowing Him. Abraham went out not knowing where he was going for he had caught a glimpse of the ONE who is the way, the truth and the life. For many it is much more comfortable to linger in things of the past than to take that first step. Fear holds men and women where faith falters. They die to spiritual things and new beginnings are a thing of the past. Life has become a series of days filled with rote and stagnant activities.
But to those who hold Him dear within the very recesses of their hearts He remains precious, living and true. It is in these ones that fellowship is a most desired and coveted thing. As each member beholds Him and shines that forth into the lives of their brothers and sisters we see the manifold work of new beginnings within each life; a Body that beats with His heart for one another!
“What is truth?”
This is such a profound and penetrating question stemming from the brief encounter of a Roman governor of Judea with Jesus the Christ. Pilate’s question, though in most respects more rhetorical than honest, still echoes the eternal cry within man, “What is Truth?” His question was in response to the reply of Jesus in the preceding verse…
“To this end was I born,
and for this cause came I into the world
that I should bear witness unto the truth.
Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice”
In light of the general condition of much of the church today this is a most disturbing statement. Jesus in speaking of truth, and those who are of the truth, reveals it primarily as a relationship rather than an intellectual commodity. “Everyone that is of the truth HEARS my voice”! Our land is filled with teachings, sermons and didactical dissertations. Debates over scriptural interpretations, and the nuances of men’s understandings, have contributed to a carnal denominational system with the result that many no longer understand what TRUTH is. Much of the teaching today is purely informational, filled with scriptural facts to support OUR belief system, OUR statement of faith and to reinforce OUR standing in God. The Book of Acts is taught from a historical perspective. We have our charts and theoretical ideas on end time events. We love to hear the latest teachings on “deeper” things in the scriptures and we talk of the “rhema” word. We sit and talk esoterically of concepts that tantalize the mind and tickle the ears but are left bereft of any actual doing. These things become spiritual narcotics that render the believer empty of the works of Faith* and the revelation of the Living Christ.
In EVERY letter to the Church in the Book of Revelation Jesus speaks the same thing…
“I know thy works…”
REVELATION 2:2, 9, 13, 19, 3:1. 8, 15
He is not interested in our words per se (1Corinthians 4:20). He knows that our works reveal our faith (James 2:20 & 26). If they who are of the TRUTH hear His Voice, then they who are of the Truth must also be those who DO the truth. To hear His Voice means that HE is communicating HIS WILL to us. If Faith comes by hearing then it must be that to hear HIS voice culminates in our DOING of HIS good pleasure. Growth and development in the realm of light comes in our doing of truth.
“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light”
The pathway of life is through the medium of DOING. Truth by its very nature must produce HIS LIFE in the one who is OF the truth. For in the hearing of HIS WORD HIS LIFE and substance is communicated into the heart of the one to whom it is spoken. HIS WORD is not a sermon it is in reality HIS VERY SELF, not bits of information but the very life of HIMSELF who is the LIFE.
“…the words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit, and they are life”
We think that by knowing all the scriptures concerning a certain subject that we have the truth of that particular thing. We fail to realize that truth is a life not a subject. All Christendom can quote John 3:16, but there are those who have turned the world upside down when they have touched the heartbeat of that wondrous LOVE. It is one thing to hold a scripture in our intellect, it is another to be radically transformed by the power of the ONE of whom it speaks. It is in hearing HIS voice and responding to that living truth that we become expressions of His heart and Life.
“Truth lies in character.
Christ did not simply speak the truth;
he was Truth—truth through and through,
for truth is a thing not of words but a life and being”
Frederick William Robertson (1816–1853)
* Note: Paul states that we are not saved by works but we are saved UNTO good works (Ephesians 2:8-9) where the works are not the basis of our salvation; they are the revelation and the result of HIS LIFE in us.
“…show forth his salvation from day to day”
The Hebrew word used here for show means to declare, preach, bear tidings and to show forth a message. The truth of God’s salvation, His purpose and His Presence in our hearts should be one of showing forth what He has done in our lives and a telling of that to the world around us. To whatever measure we have tasted and seen of His goodness there should be a demonstration of it in our lives. Who we are should validate what we declare. The evidence of the one should give weight to the things we say. Our daily responses with family and friends, our business dealings, our interactions with co-workers and even with the guy who cuts you off in traffic should be something that shows his salvation!
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:
and be ready always to give an answer
to every man that asketh you a reason
of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”
1 PETER 3:15
The loss of impact in this world brought about by religious words from lives that are out of sync with His message is tragic. The purpose of His dealings in our lives is to make the one the verity of the other. We need to be declaring Him in the world around us, we need to be bolder in our testimony of Him to this world, but let us also have a greater awareness of the accountability of our actions and words. We are exhorted in the book of James…
“So speak ye, and so do
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty…”
We need to be reminded that we are accountable to the judge of all men for the words we speak and the actions we take. The message we bear is HIM. Let us seek that continual work of His transformation in our lives that we may show as well as tell.
“Herein is our love made perfect,
that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:
because as he is, so are we in this world”
1 JOHN 4:17
“I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”
Vision requires obedience. This is not an earthly vision, for earthly visions may simply be ideals, goals or lofty things for which we strive. Not so a heavenly one. A heavenly vision originates in heaven. It is not the product of men and therefore it is not simply an ideal or a religious concept; it is GOD’S CALL.
Here we see Paul nearing the end of his journey and the vision had not faded. It had not been compromised but it beat with a fiery passion as he communicates to everyone the one thing that has produced this expression within his heart. Without obedience the heavenly vision fades. It not only becomes just a teaching, but the beauty of it no longer births a life of pursuit. It is reduced to something that men discuss and debate in theological rhetoric without the “CRY” for its reality.
Obedience is the lamp that illumines our vision. Without it our world becomes small and our view of the size and scope of God’s salvation withers as well. “I” becomes the center from which everything else is viewed. Things are measured by how it relates to “my” wellbeing and we are no longer affected by the needs of those around us. We are unable even to see that “the fields are white unto harvest” for we must have HIS VISION of the world to truly care. Without obedience and participation in the costly exercise of our lives as it relates to GOD’s purpose the vision fades. We are ultimately left with a life that is barren, unexercised in the dynamic of faith, and out of touch with the reality of God’s heart.
The nature of anything is known by its fruit.
“The days are at hand, and the EFFECT of every vision.
For there shall be no more any vain vision…”